Meningoencephalomyelitis in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

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Meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs is a medical condition that refers to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Sometimes it is the result of having a higher number of white blood cells than usual.

Infection with parasites and allergic reactions can result in this condition. While all dogs can develop it, the Golden Retriever breed seems to be affected most often.

If you see any signs that your dog might be suffering from this condition, then you must consult your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. Here’s what you need to know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs.

Symptoms of meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs

Meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs can cause symptoms that often affect the nervous system. Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Develop blindness
  • Memory loss
  • Circle

Causes of meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs

Golden Retriever at the vet.

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The precise underlying cause of meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs is often unknown. It results from an abnormal immune response that causes the dog’s body to attack its own tissues.

Additionally, small dog breeds appear to have a higher predisposition than large dogs to developing the disease when the cause is unknown, which may suggest a genetic link.

Female dogs are also at a higher risk than male dogs, with most cases occurring in dogs over six months of age.

However, some of the known factors and conditions related to cases include:

  • Infections (both parasitic and fungal)
  • Allergies
  • Tumors
  • Vaccination

Golden Retrievers also seem to have a greater predisposition.

Veterinary treatments

If you are concerned that your dog has meningoencephalomyelitis, your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam. The vet will order blood and urine tests, and he may suggest an MRI to look for tumors.

Veterinarians also often use cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis to confirm a diagnosis.

When it comes to treatment, dogs usually need a period of hospitalization. Veterinarians frequently use steroids to control any inflammation that has arisen. Additionally, vets often suggest restricting a dog’s diet and movement as part of treatment.

If the disease results from an autoimmune response in the dog’s body, the veterinarian may prescribe immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone, dexamethasone, or cyclosporine.

The vet may also prescribe antibiotics, such as doxycycline, enrofloxacin, or clindamycin, to treat any involved infections that may make the condition worse.

As always, if your vet is prescribing medication for your dog, follow their directions and take the full course, even if your dog’s symptoms seem to be improving.

Has your dog ever developed meningoencephalomyelitis? What kind of symptoms have you seen? Tell us all in the comments below.

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